Michigan State Basketball: Saying goodbye to inspiring 2019 senior class

EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 20: Matt McQuaid #20 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his three-point basket in the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Breslin Center on February 20, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 20: Matt McQuaid #20 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his three-point basket in the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Breslin Center on February 20, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

We look at the two seniors that this Michigan State basketball team will be losing in the offseason and everything they have done for this team.

The 2018-19 Michigan State Spartans are playing their final regular season home game against in-state rival Michigan. This is a huge game with major ramifications.

One of the reasons why this is a huge game is because these Spartans have two seniors playing their last home game of their careers. Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins have both transitioned into having inspiring and fantastic careers in the green and white.

They’re adding to their careers this season hoping to go back to the Final Four for Goins and McQuaid is trying to make his first-ever appearance. Let’s take a look back on their careers for the Spartans and say a collective goodbye, and thank you.

Matt McQuaid

McQuaid started his career at Michigan State during the 2015-16 season. He had averaged 3.5 points and 1.6 assists in his freshmen year but he had some nice highlights throughout the season.

In the Champions Classic, he came off the bench to hit three clutch 3-pointers. One of them was the dagger in with just under a minute left. Then we move to his sophomore year where he started in 11 games and he improved his points per game average from 3.5 up to 5.6 per game. He was third on the team in 3-pointers made with 42. Moreover, he had a couple huge games and his defense continued to improve to give him the honors of co-best defender for MSU.

Moving on to his junior season, he started to get more involved. McQuaid started to put the ball on the hardwood in and drive the lane. He added to his game and improved his points per game from 5.6 points to 6.0 points per game. He only started in two games this year but the games he started in was the PK80 tournament in which injuries bugged the team. In the Spartans’ first game of the tournament, McQuaid was showing his improved ball skills. He led all scorers with 20 points and knocked down 6-for-8 from lang range — he was the reason MSU got through that first game of the tournament.

McQuaid has grown every year in his career and he is proving he can be a name which Spartan fans will talk about for a long time in his senior season campaign.

This season, McQuaid has stepped up his game in a big way. He is averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 boards and 2.4 assists per game. He is also the best defender this MSU squad has. He has shown he can shut down top scorers on any given night.

More from Spartans Basketball

Both times MSU faced Purdue he was the one that shut down Carsen Edwards. He also shut down Jordan Poole for the Wolverines in their first meeting and has exploded this year into a trustworthy player on the floor and he has the basketball IQ and vision to see what is happening.

The Texas-native has also grown into someone who’s not scared to take it down into the paint and get bumped or dribble into an open mid-range shot. He’s so versatile that he doesn’t need to score in bunches and he makes up for his lack of points with energy and defense.

That’s right, McQuaid gets the crowd and his team going when they need it with is energy, slapping the court of defense or bringing them together before a free throw.

Throughout the years we have seen McQuaid  grow and we don’t want to see him leave but I know that he will put everything he has on the floor in his last home game against Michigan and in the last minutes when he is subbed out he will run to center court get down and kiss that logo for all greatness he has given his coach and teammates.

Kenny Goins

Goins is a player with an incredible story. He was a walk-on in his first year with the Spartans. He came to the program without a scholarship because he wanted to be a part of the green and white even though he had scholarship offers from other D1 schools.

Throughout his years as a Spartan, Kenny has been known for his aggressive style of rebounding and his ability to learn and grow into a stretch-four player who can knock down a deep three when needed. He’s as good as any shooter when he is at the top of the key shooting a three-ball.

Goins’ freshman campaign when he walked on, he didn’t see playing time but throughout strong practices and a strong offseason he was able to get a scholarship for his next season 2015-16.

The Troy, Mich., native injured his knee and was out for a stretches of time. He still saw the court but did not get much time and was just a reserve to give Matt Costello a break and rest when he needed it — he was able to put up 52 points throughout that whole season.

As a sophomore, Goins was able to get his first career start against Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic and brought down eight rebounds in that heartbreaking two-point loss to Arizona. Fortunately, he was able to start the next 10 games but it was due to injuries to the other bigs on the team and would have his ups and his downs but over had good games. He scored 10 points against Duke just a few weeks after the Arizona matchup.

In his junior campaign, we started to see Goins work on his 3-point stroke and was able to take a few shots out there and knock them down. He would come off the bench unless injuries hampered the team but he did not stop play his game when he would do so.

Now we move on to this season, his senior year, where he has morphed into an incredible rebounder and scorer. He is only averaging 8.3 points a game but he can come out on any given night and knock down big shot after big shot and score 15-20 points.

In the Spartans’ most recent game against Nebraska, he had a career-high 20 points and hit 4-of-6 3-pointers. He runs the court and gets those fast break opportunities for this team. He is one of the Big Ten’s best stretch-four players this season as well and he defends well and keeps his hands straight up.

There is just so much we can say about Goins coming from being a walk-on to a senior starter and a reliable teammate on and off the court. He’ll go out onto his home court one last time to play Michigan and no matter what the outcome is when he is pulled out of the game in the last couple of minutes he will run to center of that court and kiss that logo because he is a true Spartan and that’s what they do.

These two seniors have given it their all every time they step onto the court. They want what’s best for the team which is why most of their careers have been about coming off the bench and being those great role players — this year was their year and they have shined through.

Next. 5 reasons Michigan State will beat Michigan. dark

They have become some of Michigan State’s best stories in the Tom Izzo era and we will talk about them for years to come. They will be missed by these fan base because of what they brought to the team. Look for these two to continue to have big games especially tonight against their instate rival who they hate in Michigan.